May 7, 2013- Debbie M

Today we were given the opportunity to tour as well as shadow doctors from a hospital called Materno Infantil and a free clinic. Doctor Alberto Paulino, a gynecologist who works at both the clinic and hospital, showed us the emergency room, labs, pediatric, neonatal, dialysis, and the gynecology unit. We were also able to speak and ask questions to the director of the hospital and the head of the clinics.  Abortions are illegal in the Dominican Republic, so the medical professionals in the country try to educate the people of the consequences of their sexual activity, but once someone becomes pregnant they help them through the pregnancy.  A female patient at the age of 15 came to see the doctor because she was pregnant, married to a 23 year old, and as a result had to drop out of school.  Unfortunately the doctor explained that most  much like the states, there is a large amount of sexual activity within the country which results in a higher rate of adolescent and teen pregnancies. This trip has by  far surpassed the educational experience I had expected. Not only was I was I able to shadow doctors, but I was able to interact with both the doctors and patients, ask questions, watch them treat patients, observe people in the blood analysis labs, as well as learn about the dynamics of the medical system in the Dominican Republic. As an American I respect the medical professionals of this country. They work in small spaces, sometimes with no air conditioning, see many cases of cholera, dengue, HPV, and many more. They do what they do because they love medicine, but above all they love the people and want to do what they can. Not only does Doctor  Paulino work at the hospital, but he works at the free clinic voluntarily, and even on his days off he was out in the community giving check ups and dispersing medication. This country has given me a new perspective in medicine and has given me an appreciation for what I have in the states.


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